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Market engagement

Is it worth engaging with Market Engagement?

Wednesday 17 November, 2021

A procurement notice comes out asking for discussion and feedback from the market about a potential contract in your field of business.  Is it worth giving this feedback? Will it improve your chances of a favourable specification or tender submission, or is it just a tick box exercise...?

Arguably, the answer is all the above. Pre-procurement market engagement is potentially very useful for both the buyer, and you, the supplier. For buyers, procurement policy encourages the use of pre-market engagement to spark innovation, speed up delivery, streamline the procurement process, and broaden the market opportunity to reduce dependency on a smaller number of suppliers. There is however, no specific requirement for organisations to consult with the supplier market.

There is however, strong motivation from Government that market engagement with suppliers before a contracting exercise is significant in producing better outcomes for buyers, and ultimately the end user e.g.patients

“The Government will work across the public sector to establish a more innovation-friendly culture as well as practices among contracting authorities. This will emphasise the importance of early engagement and encourage contracting authorities to articulate challenges rather than prescribing a specific solution for delivery” Dec 2020 Transforming Public Procurement., We set out below some of the key reasons why taking the opportunity to participate with market engagaement can be of significant benefit:

Understand their needs

Procurement teams go to the market to understand how suppliers can assist with their requirements.  This is a great opportunity to find out what the motivations, values and thought processes behind the procurement are, and therefore if you have a solution that can align with these.  This could be very useful in helping you determine if a tender is worth pursuing when it is released and gives you pointers on how to shape your solution accordingly. Any subsequent tender will need to show that you understand the buyer’s challenges and concerns, and that you are able to address all of these.

Demonstrate your knowledge

Market engagement is also an opportunity to make the procurement teams aware of how your skills and expertise could help produce better outcomes for them. Buyers cannot show any bias towards any single supplier, but you can indicate how you can bring innovation and care to the needs outlined. Good ideas stay in the mind and giving a buyer confidence that there is at least one supplier in the room that knows what they are talking about, will build awareness (even if it cannot be directly about you).  Following up with a correspondingly knowledgeable tender will only help to remind them.  

Influence the shape of the subsequent ITT

Structuring a tender to reflect the nature of the market ultimately helps both the supplier and the buyer find the right answer i.e. the Most Advantageous Tender.  Market engagement should not be about procurement teams making the requirement specific to a single business or product (they are not allowed to do this) but be more about responding to market dynamics e.g. if an online solution can be more useful/cost-effective, then the ITT should include opportunities for this type of service offering. Making good suggestions as to how your solutions will benefit the buyer can help them to formulate the most appropriate tender questions and even what to include in their evaluation criteria.    

Possible partners also in the room

A market engagement can be a great opportunity to see who else is in the marketplace and who could become a strong partner to deliver a more complete solution.  This might be particularly relevant at events for larger contracts, where there are multiple sets of requirements, multiple locations, or multi-disciplines required e.g. large facilities management contract, incorporating hard FM, cleaning, HVAC, security etc.  As the discussion and requirements unfold, it can be a good opportunity to size up some potential collaborators that you could team up with to offer a better solution than the big corporations.

Competitor analysis  

Rarely do you get the opportunity to size up your competition as closely as at a market engagement event. Listen to the questions the other suppliers are asking, try to understand the type of solutions they might be proposing, do they give you confined they know what they are talking about? Now is the time to start thinking about how you are going to differentiate your tender from theirs.

To see if there are any up and coming market engagement events within your industry, visit our Open Tenders page: Open Tenders Search | Live Tender Search | Complete Tenders or, if you would like to find about what types of market engagement events are offered please see our blog 'What to look for when deciding to participate in market engagement events'.

AUTHOR: Jennie Billings - Personal Tender Search Manager - Complete Tenders

Jennie simplifies the tendering process from first step to fruition. She enjoys combining her experience and skills to ensure that smaller businesses access the opportunities to take their enterprise to a new level.

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